Now that’s what I call superhype, part 3

mcb2-1024x768.jpg

I had been waiting for this moment the entire holiday season like a child anticipating the arrival of a new toy. My family and friends had been warned: nothing, but nothing, would stand in the way of this glorious day of celebration and beauty.

Yes, I’m talking about the Motor City Bowl, one of 32 NCAA college football bowl games played from December 20 to January 7. Who wouldn’t want to support a bowl game named after glorious Detroit?

Continue reading

Now that’s what I call superhype, part 3

mcb2-1024x768.jpg

I had been waiting for this moment the entire holiday season like a child anticipating the arrival of a new toy. My family and friends had been warned: nothing, but nothing, would stand in the way of this glorious day of celebration and beauty.

Yes, I’m talking about the Motor City Bowl, one of 32 NCAA college football bowl games played from December 20 to January 7. Who wouldn’t want to support a bowl game named after glorious Detroit?

Continue reading

Clint Eastwood ain’t the only dirty harry

harrysituation.jpg

It’s been widely reported that the career tenure of the typical chief marketing officer is about as long as the lifespan of a feral cat.

To become more valuable and durable, marketing executives need to take risks like the marketing execs at L’Oreal, who have launched a viral campaign to support a new line of hair products, Garnier Fructis Style Bold It.

Bold It targets men aged 18-34, an audience that L’Oreal is counting on to appreciate a risque approach to digital marketing. Working with employer Avenue A | Razorfish and agency Kirt Gunn & Associates, L’Oreal has launched a make-believe comedy, “The Harry Situation,” which features the romantic adventures of a guy who uses Bold It.

Here’s the twist, as reported in the December 19 The New York Times: as part of the campaign, a make-believe executive “hijacks” the website created to promote the show and decides to post his own renegade “Harry Situation” clips. The clips are intended to entertain the male demographic while slyly promoting Bold It all along.

As Cheryl Vitali, senior vice president for marketing for L’Oreal brands Garnier and Maybelline, tells The New York Times, “It’s a little bit of a wink to the industry . . . The challenge was not doing what’s expected.”

One blogger pointed out to me that L’Oreal could experience some blowback because theharrysituation.com does not specify that it’s a parody site. But according to Avenue A | Razorfish client partner Pete Stein, the team that worked on the assignment felt that having a “sponsored by” note would have detracted from the conceit of the story. Instead, the site uses humor so over-the-top and silly that the spoof should be obvious. Moreover, sharing the idea with The New York Times brings everyone in on the joke.

But, more importantly, L’Oreal is to be commended for taking a risk and building a brand through the viral and social power of the web. Marketing executives are not in a position to play it safe. Thanks to consumer-generated content, we’re being shut out of the conversation between the brand and the customer. L’Oreal shows us how the marketer can play the viral game, too, and in a smart, funny way.

We need to think like L’Oreal’s marketing team to outlive the feral cats.

Clint Eastwood ain’t the only dirty harry

harrysituation.jpg

It’s been widely reported that the career tenure of the typical chief marketing officer is about as long as the lifespan of a feral cat.

To become more valuable and durable, marketing executives need to take risks like the marketing execs at L’Oreal, who have launched a viral campaign to support a new line of hair products, Garnier Fructis Style Bold It.

Bold It targets men aged 18-34, an audience that L’Oreal is counting on to appreciate a risque approach to digital marketing. Working with employer Avenue A | Razorfish and agency Kirt Gunn & Associates, L’Oreal has launched a make-believe comedy, “The Harry Situation,” which features the romantic adventures of a guy who uses Bold It.

Here’s the twist, as reported in the December 19 The New York Times: as part of the campaign, a make-believe executive “hijacks” the website created to promote the show and decides to post his own renegade “Harry Situation” clips. The clips are intended to entertain the male demographic while slyly promoting Bold It all along.

As Cheryl Vitali, senior vice president for marketing for L’Oreal brands Garnier and Maybelline, tells The New York Times, “It’s a little bit of a wink to the industry . . . The challenge was not doing what’s expected.”

One blogger pointed out to me that L’Oreal could experience some blowback because theharrysituation.com does not specify that it’s a parody site. But according to Avenue A | Razorfish client partner Pete Stein, the team that worked on the assignment felt that having a “sponsored by” note would have detracted from the conceit of the story. Instead, the site uses humor so over-the-top and silly that the spoof should be obvious. Moreover, sharing the idea with The New York Times brings everyone in on the joke.

But, more importantly, L’Oreal is to be commended for taking a risk and building a brand through the viral and social power of the web. Marketing executives are not in a position to play it safe. Thanks to consumer-generated content, we’re being shut out of the conversation between the brand and the customer. L’Oreal shows us how the marketer can play the viral game, too, and in a smart, funny way.

We need to think like L’Oreal’s marketing team to outlive the feral cats.

Why steroids won’t hurt the Major League Baseball brand

majorleaguebaseball.png

As expected, the Mitchell Report, released on December 13, implicated several Major League baseball stars like Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada in the use or posession of steroids. Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey reacted by lamenting that “We were robbed of an entire era of baseball.”

But were we really?

I think the Major League Baseball brand is doing quite well, thank you.

Even as rumors of rampant steroid abuse have intensified year after year, fans keep coming to the ballpark. In fact, regular season attendance in 2007 broke the overall single-season record for the fourth-consecutive year. Why?

Because MLB long ago redefined its brand, that’s why.

MLB doesn’t even bank on player appeal anymore — MLB sells an experience now, witnessed by the explosive growth of stunning new stadiums and relentless merchandising. It’s not enough to merchandise “home” and “away” jerseys anymore to the fans — now its all about vintage merchandise and alernative contemporary uniforms to complement any fashion style.

What would really hurt the MLB brand? Not revelations of steroid abuse. Try banning beer sales from he world’s largest outdoor bar, Wrigley Field, or remove the swimming pool from the stands in Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. The fans would scream bloody murder. Why? Because swimming pools and beer are part of the experience that MLB sells.

The baseball players on the field are just fodder for fantasy league statistics.

Why steroids won’t hurt the Major League Baseball brand

majorleaguebaseball.png

As expected, the Mitchell Report, released on December 13, implicated several Major League baseball stars like Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada in the use or posession of steroids. Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey reacted by lamenting that “We were robbed of an entire era of baseball.”

But were we really?

I think the Major League Baseball brand is doing quite well, thank you.

Even as rumors of rampant steroid abuse have intensified year after year, fans keep coming to the ballpark. In fact, regular season attendance in 2007 broke the overall single-season record for the fourth-consecutive year. Why?

Because MLB long ago redefined its brand, that’s why.

MLB doesn’t even bank on player appeal anymore — MLB sells an experience now, witnessed by the explosive growth of stunning new stadiums and relentless merchandising. It’s not enough to merchandise “home” and “away” jerseys anymore to the fans — now its all about vintage merchandise and alernative contemporary uniforms to complement any fashion style.

What would really hurt the MLB brand? Not revelations of steroid abuse. Try banning beer sales from he world’s largest outdoor bar, Wrigley Field, or remove the swimming pool from the stands in Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. The fans would scream bloody murder. Why? Because swimming pools and beer are part of the experience that MLB sells.

The baseball players on the field are just fodder for fantasy league statistics.

Marketing rant: do I look like I work at Borders?

paradox.jpg

One of the great joys in life is wandering the aisles of mega bookstores just to let all the new titles hit you randomly, perhaps leading you down a new avenue to explore.

But one of the great frustrations in life is actually trying to buy something at one of these mega bookstores.

Recently I was in a Borders book store seeking a copy of Little Heathens, a memoir by Mildred Armstrong Kalish about growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. I approached the customer service desk and asked for assistance locating a copy The employee noted that six copies were in store . . . but the computer did not say where. So we set off together to hunt down the mysterious six, section by section. First we tried New Releases and Featured Biographies and Memoirs, but to no avail. Next came Sociology, Modern U.S. History, and Borders Original Voices.

Nothing.

Continue reading

Marketing rant: do I look like I work at Borders?

paradox.jpg

One of the great joys in life is wandering the aisles of mega bookstores just to let all the new titles hit you randomly, perhaps leading you down a new avenue to explore.

But one of the great frustrations in life is actually trying to buy something at one of these mega bookstores.

Recently I was in a Borders book store seeking a copy of Little Heathens, a memoir by Mildred Armstrong Kalish about growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. I approached the customer service desk and asked for assistance locating a copy The employee noted that six copies were in store . . . but the computer did not say where. So we set off together to hunt down the mysterious six, section by section. First we tried New Releases and Featured Biographies and Memoirs, but to no avail. Next came Sociology, Modern U.S. History, and Borders Original Voices.

Nothing.

Continue reading